Last Updated: 12/02/12 5:56pm
Man City reclaim their position on top of the Premier League as they see off a late Aston Villa resurgence to claim a comfortable 1-0 victory at Villa Park. It was completely one-sided for 80 minutes, with Joleon Lescott's goal the only highlight up until that point. Villa finally decided to attack and Joe Hart saved the game for City with a magnificent late save to deny Bent. Worrying times for Villa but City continue their charge towards the Premier League title with an impressive win. Thanks for your company at Villa Park and I'll see you soon.
Villa have been full of drive this last ten minutes, but it's far too late and a Hutton throw is cleared as City have now surely seen out the match.
Dunne takes a heavy fall in the box and hobbles off to recieve treatment with this all adding to what is surely only a minute's left of injury time to be played.
Hart is fouled punching away Hutton's cross, with the Man City keeper unlikely to have a finer few minutes than he has here today.
Bent is freed by Petrov, but he can't lay to the ball across to Keane, and Kompany gets his body in the way as Villa desperately now press for an equaliser.
Kolarov concedes a corner as Keane lurked, and Bent draws a fantastic save from Hart who manages to parry the striker's close-range shot!
Aguero is replaced, and Edin Dzeko comes on, whose height could prove crucial as Villa continue to search for those threats from set-pieces.
N'Zogbia and De Jong clash, after the Villa man slid in pretty late on the Man City enforcer. It's a booking as well for the Frenchman.
Villa's best chance of the game by far falls to Cuellar who drifts in before skying his header over the bar. Kompany isn't happy he got let in at all.
Gardner inexplicably shoots through a wall of bodies, with a deflection inevitable. Villa are pushing bodies forward though, as Lescott concedes a corner from N'Zogbia's cross.
Barry breaks up another attack, setting away Milner down the left, who ends up tracking back before Nasri loses control. The two ex-Villa men have been fantastic today.
MIlner does really well to drive past Hutton, with Cuellar at full stretch to deny Aguero what would surely been an open goal.
N'Zogbia is penalised after a foul on De Jong, despite the player's vehement protests that he did nothing wrong.
Dunne again meets the delivery, but he is over-marked and he can only muster a header straight at Hart.
Petrov has a drive which nearly deflects into the path of Cuellar, before Johnson's defensive duties result in a corner.
Lescott clears Hutton's long ball out of play as City sit deeper, with De Jong then ridding the danger from Ireland's cross into the box.
Ireland is introduced as Albrighton is replaced. Should make for an interesting 15 minutes with two attacking threats now on the field for Villa.
The Villa Park faithful is suddenly alive due to the streaker. Perhaps he should have done it earlier?
It's mid-February and there's a streaker on the pitch. What a brave man, an idiot, but a brave one nonetheless.
City calmly play the ball around their midfield, with Villa now the team giving chase in the final third, before Kolarov's ball down the line ends up behind for a goal-kick.
N'Zogbia should have started this game. He has made a real difference as he plays in Gardner, whose shot is poor, but it's much better from Villa who have actually started playing since the Frenchman's introduction.
Zabaleta skins Cuellar with some fantastic skill, but Collins is able to cleat, with N'Zogbia breaking down the left, forcing some solid defending from Lescott.
Villa have really struggled to make any attacking progress, but their best effort of the game sees a header from Bent land in the arms of Hart.
Bent is practically in his own box to claim possession, but his touch is poor and he gives it away to Kolarov immediately.
Handball appeals against Alan Hutton are turned down, but the defender didn't look like he knew much about it in fairness.
Villa really need a boost if they are to survive this game, with N'Zogbia and Ireland surely a must for McLeish to bring on. In the meantime, City continue to keep passing majestically.
This really could be anything now as Villa's defence is breached and you wouldn't rule out two or three more as their attacking impetus remains complete impotent.
It could so easily have been two as Johnson drifts past Cuellar, before playing in Aguero whose close-range shot is denied by Given, before Aguero then fires wide moments later.
The breakthrough finally comes for City, as Barry heads the corner back into the six-yard box, with Collins ball-watching, and Lescott nets his fifth goal against Aston Villa. 1-0 to City!
Petrov's poor tackle on Silva barely outside the box results in a free-kick and a yellow card for the Villa skipper.
City look to carve an opening, with Dunne just about reaching Silva's chip to Aguero, making a crucial interception for Villa in the process.
Kolarov fizzes a fierce drive across goal, with no City player able to stretch to make contact and his effort is driven wide. It's approaching kitchen sink time for City with half an hour still left to play.
Keane looks for Bent with a disguised, switched ball, but Kompany's position is perfect and Bent continues to be completely isolated up front.
Heskey tracks back admirably to deny Kolarov's ball into the box. The City full back's run was tremendous it should be noted.
Having performed his defensive duties, Zabaleta ventures forward and decides to lash a strike on goal, which Given saves well when Aguero and Silva were perhaps better options for the right-back.
Albrighton looks to beat Zabaleta down the right but the Argentinian shows impressive pace to deny the Villa winger a cross into the box.
Silva's teasing ball in meets the head of Lescott, who gets in front of Collins but forces his effort over the bar. City keep knocking without getting their just rewards.
Bent makes a careless tackle on Zabaleta, and City win a free-kick 20 yards out in a very dangerous position.
Johnson looks for Aguero with a delicate through-ball but Gardner reads the pass and gets in the way well.
Hutton concedes possession needlessly, forcing Petrov into a late tackle on Silva which results in a City free-kick.
Keane keeps the ball in play delightfully to the approval of the home fans, as Villa venture forward, with De Jong heading out Albrighton's cross.
Lescott is the man who gets the final header away after a momentary scramble, and Silva does well to hussle Albrighton into playing back to Given.
Keane wins a free-kick after Kolarov's tackle, but a quick-free quick is prevented, before Albrighton's second delivery ends up behind for a corner to a roar from the Holte End.
Kompany forces a clearance off the line from Collins, before a second corner results in a more comfortable Given save. City start exactly where the first-half ended.
Anthony Webster writes: "Hi Jack, Anthony here, as much as I would love Villa to get something from this game I can only see a Man City win, eventually the City pressure will tell and then the floodgates could open, I'm going 2-0 Away but would love a point."
Johnson has hit the post, and Aguero forced a goal-line clearance, but City have so far failed to break down a resolute Villa defence whose attacking threat has one header from Dunne to show for it. It's been very one-sided but it's level at the break. Send your second half predictions to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @JWoodfield365
Keane makes an initial run but plays a blind pass to the overlapping Albrighton and that should do it for the first half.
Gardner's ambitious ball across field lands safely in the arms of Hart, with Heskey standing no chance of reaching the youngster's cross.
Kolarov keeps the ball alive down the by-line, but once more City lack a poacher in the box to divert Kolarov's ball home and Villa clear away.
Dunne would be the man Villa would have wanted to make contact, and he does, but he skies his header over. Set-pieces may be Villa's only chance of scoring here this afternoon as they again concede play to De Jong.
Kompany prevents a corner, but Hutton earns one eventually down the right as Kolarov blocks the delivery into the box.
Aguero easily uses his pace to skip past Collins, but again the striker's finish lets him down, firing way wide of goal.
Kolarov takes the honours, but his curling shot is some way over the bar as Villa are let off the hook once more.
Heskey tracks back but catches Barry in the follow-through of his tackle and City have a free-kick 25 yards out.
Petrov looks for Keane, but Kompany is all over the pass, the centre-back calmly playing back to Hart.
Kolarov finds Silva in space, but his pass to Johnson is over-ambitious and Cuellar cuts it out. It's a great credit Villa are still level but a City goal seems inevitable right now.
Albrighton runs into trouble during a surging run, but Cuellar is again on hand to head back to Given as Aguero lay in wait to meet Milner's pass.
City line up another attack, with players piling forward from all over the pitch, forcing Bent and Keane to track back to try and relieve some of the pressure on Villa at the moment.
City come close once more as Aguero fires at goal after Johnson's cut-back into the box, and Hutton is the man on the line to hoof away.
Collins has been solid so far, and he cuts out another ball from Milner, before his defensive partner Dunne then clears away from Silva.
Silva presssures Petrov into passing back to Dunne, with a lack of movement resulting in Dunne's ball upfield landing out for a City throw-in.
Aguero looks for the by-line, crossing into the far post where Johnson looks to knock the ball back into the six-yard box, with Cuellar there to hoof clear.
Aguero skips across Collins, before letting rip with a dreadful shot, off-balance, that ends up high and wide behind goal.
It's Dunne who makes the header clear this time, but Villa continue to hang on for now as City completely dominate play.
SIlva is in all kinds of space as they continue to pile the pressure on, the midfielder earning a corner which Milner will again take.
Collins heads away but only into the path of Johnson who drives at goal and cannons his effort off the near post! The only noise is coming from the away fans now, with their football improving by the minute.
Silva bombs forward and knocks the ball into the path of Milner, whose effort is scuffed before Cuellar kicks it away for a corner. Villa's defense is crumbling here.
Aguero's footwork is delightful, but no-one is there to pounce as he floats the ball in at the far post.
Heskey and Hutton link up on the right, but the full-back's cross takes a touch and ends up rolling into the path of Hart. Villa really need something to liven up a painfully nervous crowd here.
Cuellar puts off Johnson as he prepares to make the tackle, and Johnson accelerates too late, losing the ball after a heavy first touch.
The two former Villa men link up, with Milner playing in Barry who curls an effort straight at Given. City are getting nearer...
Aguero is offside as he meets Silva's chipped through ball, but Villa's defense looks to becoming more strained by the minute as City look to find that gap.
Silva tricks his way into the box, but his shot in the end is poor and Given gets down quickly to gather. Lovely footwork initially from the Spaniard.
Petrov delivers the free-kick into the far post, and it's Dunne who meets it with a header that lacks the pace, or direction, to really challenge Joe Hart who makes a comfortable save.
A succession of sloppy touches and headers result in numerous throw-ins on the right side, with the game turning into a volleyball match before Nigel de Jong fouls Darren Bent.
Aguero links up with Silva, but the magician's ball to Adam Johnson catches the winger off guard and Villa end up with a goal-kick.
Heskey is penalised for a foul on Kolarov. Very sluggish start from both teams in these early exchanges.
Villa seem to be sitting on their own goal-line they're pegged back that deep, but they work their way forward with Hutton before play is forced back to Given.
City clear Cuellar's free-kick up field, but Villa regain possession through Gardner, before Keane is dispossessed on the left side by the vigilant Zabaleta.
City continue to dominate possession, as Gardner hoofs away the remains of their last attack. Moments later, Zabaleta concedes a foul on Albrighton.
Milner's ball to Aguero is uncharacteristically poor, and Aguero stands no chance of latching on to it as Cuellar sees it out for a throw-in.
Gareth Barry charges through Petrov, as no foul is given, before Richard Dunne intercepts possession from the former Villa man.
James Collins stands strong to deny Silva's ball into the box, with Emile Heskey tracking back to prevent a second delivery, doing well to win a goal-kick for Villa.
Milner, who has received a warm welcome so far at his former club, again searches for Aguero down the left, but Alan Hutton cuts in to cross to clear away.
Villa do well to formulate a counter-attack, but Marc Albrighton can't keep the ball in play and it's a goal-kick to City.
Aguero looks menacing early on, with Carlos Cuellar making an important interception to deny David Silva a run through on goal.
Aleksandar Kolarov sprints down the left, and is found by James Milner, with Given in the right position to claim the delivery.
Pablo Zabaleta launches the ball into the box, and Sergio Aguero slips in behind Gardner, before powering a shot at goal which is caught by Given. Early warning signs from City.
With both teams in white shorts, a puzzling choice, Gary Gardner gets his first touches on the ball. This will be a massive game for the youngster today.
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish and Manchester City counterpart Roberto Mancini both make four changes. Winger Marc Albrighton and centre-back James Collins return from injury for Villa, while Emile Heskey and Gary Gardner are handed starts, with Stephen Warnock, Stephen Ireland, Charles N'Zogbia and Ciaran Clark making way. For City, defender Vincent Kompany returns to skipper the side after missing last week's 3-0 home win over Fulham with a knee injury. Pablo Zabaleta, Nigel de Jong and former Villa star James Milner are also in the starting XI ahead of the benched Micah Richards, Stefan Savic, Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri. A planned pre-match protest, meanwhile, against McLeish turned into a low-key affair, attended by no more than 100 fans. There were a few banners such as 'Had Your Chance McLeish Out' and a few chants along the lines of 'You'll be sacked in the morning', but it was ultimately more for amusement value of other Villa fans looking on.
Man City's away form may have been sketchy in recent weeks, but our friends at Sky Bet price them as strong favourites to get the win at Villa Park, their price at 4/6. Villa have not won at home since November's triumph over Norwich, and their odds are reflected at 4/1. For those unable to separate the sides, the draw is at 11/4.
Kristian Roberts tweets: "I'm a Man City fan and glad to see Johnson in the starting line up once again gonna say 3-1 City today, feel sorry for Ireland."
Aston Villa: Given, Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Cuellar, Petrov, Albrighton, Gardner, Keane, Bent, Heskey. Subs: Guzan, Warnock, Ireland, N'Zogbia, Bannan, Weimann, Baker.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, Barry, De Jong, Milner, Silva, Johnson, Aguero. Subs: Pantilimon, Richards, Pizarro, Dzeko, Savic, Nasri, Clichy.
David from Birmingham writes: "Can see the Villa getting destroyed today, especially with Heskey starting. Why McLeish can't just eat humble pie and start Ireland, our most creative player, I don't know. I'm going 3-0 City with Milner to score first."
The teams will be uploaded as soon as they are known, if you would like to drop me a line today you can send me an e-mail at email@example.com or tweet me @JWoodfield365
Welcome to live commentary of Aston Villa v Manchester City at Villa Park. In a tale of one team's poor home form and another's poor away form, both sides have points to prove this afternoon. Man City can reclaim top spot in the Premier League with a win, while Aston Villa can ease the pressure on manager Alex McLeish, who continues to endure troubled reactions from the Villa Park faithful.